TIAA-CREF rates almost as highly in reviews as our Best Reviewed life insurance companies, Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance and Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. Its financial stability scores at raters like Moody's and Standard & Poor's are superb, and it earns an A+ for trustworthiness at the Better Business Bureau. Its individual life insurance customers file very few complaints with state insurance regulators. It used to be offered only to teachers and certain other occupations, but now TIAA-CREF offers several of its products -- including life insurance -- to the general public. It's now the fourth-biggest life insurer in the U.S. It's a good company to add to your short list when you're shopping for quotes, as are fellow runners-up Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America and New York Life Insurance Co.
We found financial stability ratings for TIAA-CREF at Weiss Ratings, A.M. Best, Fitch Ratings, Moody's and Standard & Poor's. Ratings at the Better Business Bureau are based largely on customer feedback, and we also found customer complaint data at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
1. Better Business Bureau
TIAA-CREF earns the highest grade of A+ for trustworthiness at the Better Business Bureau. This report generally outlines how all 10 complaints that the BBB has received in three years for TIAA-CREF's headquarters location were resolved.
Review: BBB Reliability Report for TIAA-CREF Life Insurance Company, Editors of Better Business Bureau
2. National Association of Insurance Commissioners
You can look up insurance companies on this website and find out how many customer complaints have been upheld by state insurance commissioners within a given year. In its "closed complaint ratio report" for 2009 (the most recent year available), TIAA-CREF had only three individual life insurance complaints in which regulators deemed the company at fault.
Review: TIAA CREF Life Ins Co, Editors of National Association of Insurance Commissioners
3. Weiss Ratings
Weiss Ratings is the strictest of the financial raters, according to reports, and it doesn't take payments from the companies it rates. TIAA-CREF earns an A-, placing it in the "excellent" category.
Review: Strongest and Weakest Lists, Editors of Weiss Ratings
4. Best's Review
TIAA-CREF earns A.M. Best's highest rating of A++ for financial strength. Companies with this rating have "a superior ability to meet their ongoing insurance obligations."
Review: TIAA-CREF Life Insurance Co., Editors of Best's Review
5. Fitch Ratings
TIAA-CREF is one of only five life insurers to earn Fitch's highest AAA insurer financial strength rating. Fitch awards this rating "only in the case of exceptionally strong capacity" to meet financial obligations. Registration (free) is required to see the ratings, however.
Review: Fitch Ratings, Editors of Fitch Ratings
TIAA-CREF is one of only three U.S. life insurers to earn Moody's top Aaa rating for financial strength. This rating shows that TIAA-CREF offers "exceptional financial security."
Review: Insurance Financial Strength Ratings, Editors of Moody's
7. Standard & Poor's
Standard & Poor's awards TIAA-CREF its highest AAA rating for long-term financial strength. This rating indicates that TIAA-CREF is one of the insurance companies that are most likely to meet their financial obligations. Free registration is needed to use the site, however.
Review: Insurance Rating List: Life, Editors of Standard & Poor's